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Posts tagged ‘Gospel of Luke’

The Nazarene master teacher learning people how they should behave

Soon after the Nazarene Jeshua (Jesus Christ) had started his public life and had chosen some disciples, he found them following him and receiving more followers who wanted to hear him talking about many things which concerned them or which where about the general customs and religious life of the people.

Jesus went all over Galilee and used open as well as covered spaces, like synagogues but also planes and mountain slopes. Jesus knew his divine task, having placed in a special way on this earth to show people the Way to God. Jesus knew very well Who that One True God is all people should come to know.  He very well knew his own place, being lower than angels and being a son of God, the Most High without Jesus could do nothing.

He must have been special. Though the religious leaders despised him but the people wondered who this man could be and where curious for what they could hear from others about miracles he could perform.

Sites of Christianity in the Galillee - Ruins of the ancient Great Synagogue at Capernaum (or Kfar Nahum) on the shore of the Lake of Galilee, Northern Israel.jpg

Capernaum synagogue

Jesus went from one place to an other telling about his heavenly Father, the Only One True God of Israel. He taught people the truth of God and God’s kingdom was his theme. He also healed people of their diseases and of the bad effects of their bad lives. Those actions he did, got many curious about this personage and word got around the entire Roman province of Syria. People brought anybody with an ailment, whether mental, emotional, or physical. Jesus healed them, one and all. More and more people came, the momentum gathering. Besides those from Galilee, crowds came from the “Ten Towns” across the lake, others up from Jerusalem and Judea, still others from across the Jordan. (Matthew 4:23-25)

Mount of Beatitudes, seen from Capernaum

When he was in the region of Capernaum again there were a lot of people who had come to see him and who where eager to hear what he had to tell.  Jesus saw all those crowds, coming from different places, following him and went up the mountain or hill (the Greek word can mean either) the Mount of Beatitudes.

Some commentators see here an intended contrast to Sinai, where the Law was given. However, there are no grounds, implicit or explicit, for identifying the mountain as a “New Sinai.” {Newman, B. M., & Stine, P. C. (1992). A handbook on the Gospel of Matthew (p. 103). New York: United Bible Societies.}

From Matthew’s choice of verbs we can imagine that the situation was all about a moment of teaching, Jesus tutoring. It does not matter so much if Matthew and Luke wrote about the same or of a different occasion where Jesus taught about the kingdom of heaven, its subjects and their life.

There have been and are today scholars who regard the sermons recorded in Mt and Lk as collections of sayings spoken on different occasions, and maintain that they do not represent any connected discourse ever delivered by Jesus. In their view the Sermon is either a free compilation by the evangelists or a product of apostolic teaching and oral tradition.
The prevailing opinion among NT scholars is, however, that the gospel accounts represent a genuine historical discourse. The Sermon as recorded in Mt bears such marks of inner unity of theme and exposition as to give the appearance of genuineness. That Jesus should deliver a discourse of this kind accords with all the circumstances and with the purpose of His ministry. Besides, we know that in His teaching He was accustomed to speak to the multitudes at length, and we should expect Him to give early in His ministry some formal exposition of the kingdom, the burden of His first preaching. That such a summary of one of His most important discourses should have been preserved is altogether probable. {Miller, R. B. (1915). Sermon, on the Mount, The. In J. Orr, J. L. Nuelsen, E. Y. Mullins, & M. O. Evans (Eds.), The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia (Vol. 1–5, p. 2733). Chicago: The Howard-Severance Company.}

In any case even when it is a summary it is a teaching every Christian should seriously take at heart. Jesus was not afraid to talk at length, but this discourse could easily be delivered in a few minutes.

There is evidence that the account in Mt 5–7 contains some sayings not included in the original discourse. This view is confirmed by the fact that a number of the sayings are given in Luke’s Gospel in settings that appear more original. It is easy to believe that related sayings spoken on other occasions may have become associated with the Sermon in apostolic teaching and thus handed down with it, but if the discourse were well known in a specific form, such as that recorded in Mt, it is hardly conceivable that Luke or anyone else would break it up and distribute the fragments or associate them with other incidents, as some of the sayings recorded in both Gospels are found associated in Lk. {Miller, R. B. (1915). Sermon, on the Mount, The. In J. Orr, J. L. Nuelsen, E. Y. Mullins, & M. O. Evans (Eds.), The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia (Vol. 1–5, p. 2733). Chicago: The Howard-Severance Company.}

Because there is written that the disciples came to sit by Jesus many think Jesus was mainly addressing them. Even when this is the apparent meaning of the account of both evangelists, the separation from the multitudes and the direction of Jesus his words to the disciples seem clear, and the distinction appears intentional on the part of the writer. However, it must be observed that in the closing comments on the Sermon the presence of the multitudes is implied. In Luke’s account the distinction is less marked; being the night of prayer in the mountain, the choice of the twelve apostles, the descent with them into the presence of the multitude of his disciples and a great number of people from Judaea, Jerus and the coast country, the healing of great numbers, and, finally, the address. While the continued presence of the multitudes is implied, the plain meaning of the words,

“And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said,”

is that his address was intended especially for the latter.

This view is borne out by the address itself as recorded in both accounts. Observe the use of the second person in the reference to suffering, poverty and persecution for the sake of the Son of Man. Further the sayings concerning the “salt of the earth” and “the light of the world” could hardly have been addressed to any but His disciples. The term disciple, however, was doubtless employed in the broader sense by both evangelists. This is clearly the case in Matthew’s account, according to which the Twelve had not yet been appointed. {Miller, R. B. (1915). Sermon, on the Mount, The. In J. Orr, J. L. Nuelsen, E. Y. Mullins, & M. O. Evans (Eds.), The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia (Vol. 1–5, p. 2733). Chicago: The Howard-Severance Company.}

Today we should look at those texts also as a lesson to all those who want to call themselves “Christian” which means “to be a follower of Christ“. Christians too should be disciples of Christ Jesus and should follow the words of the Nazarene master teacher. Not especially being a digest of Christ his teaching the account in Matthew 5 delivers a short of the attitudes a Christian should take.

Today because so many people calling themselves Christian, but more following human doctrines instead of keeping to the Biblical doctrines, may find Jesus’ words very hard to understand and even harder to follow in our modern culture which preaches that happiness or luck comes from material wealth, absence of sorrow, and which teaches revenge or retaliation and exorbitant punishments far in excess of the wrong suffered. Lots of people do find it right to punish wrongdoers and even would not mind if their life was taken away, though on other occasions they are totally against women taking contraceptives considering this murder or killing an unborn life.

The writer who records the most challenging command Jesus ever gave his followers:

“Be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

looks at the teaching of Jesus on our behaviour and living and presents an ethic code for his disciples and a measure for the behaviour of all believers.

Each time Jesus opens with the word, which is recorded in Greek as “makarioi”, “blessed” or “happy”, which occurs nine times in verses 3–12. Many also call it “beatitudes”. Each beatitude having three parts: an ascription of blessing (happiness), a specific virtue to be cultivated (the practice of each produces a positive result), and a promise relating to the kingdom (reward or special comfort as a reason for the promised happiness).

In the sermon we find that the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the gentle, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, those who receive insults, are falsely accused and are persecuted on account of the Messiah may count on it that they are all blessed.

Certainly in Christendom we can find many true believers in Christ, those who accept Jesus for whom he really is, a man of flesh and blood who put his will aside to do the Will of the One God Who sent him to this world. Very often those real Christians are spit at and very often it are the trinitarian Christians who take on a very un-christian attitude to those believers. Those name Christians who prefer to keep to human doctrines and want to keep to the pagan rites and festivals, are often the worst in their attitude to the real or non-trinitarian Christians. Look around you and hear how your surroundings react to such Christians as the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christadelphians or others who spread the Good News by giving pamphlets and by talking to people on the streets or by going from door to door. Often those who laugh at such Christians are not the gentle, and often they have more interest in the looks of people and the material wealth of themselves and others, instead of looking for the spiritual wealth.

In the world we can see many who sincerely love God and want to prefer to worship Him alone, who are therefore being harassed or molested. Be them Jews, Christians or Muslims, those who not like to take part in the pagan rituals, like Halloween, Christmas, Easter, are often looked at with a bad eye, or even spit on. They are laughed at, being considered compliant meek, soft ones and not by the time. To be meek does not mean to be weak. Jesus with his words concerning the meek ones looks at “meekness” meaning gentle restraint. it  Holds in a person can be showing gentlenessmildness, forbearance, submissiveness, humility or humbleness, modesty, submission and trying to bring peacefulness, sometimes even with acquiescence. We should remember that there it is about those who dare to take on an attitude which does not insist on one’s own rights but is giving itself for others, always ready to waive its privileges in the interests of others. “The meek” person is willing to wait for God’s timing being sure that God’s promises will become a reality and that God shall provide better times for all those who live according to God His commandments. That is our sacred hope we may find in Christ his offering, opening the gates to the Kingdom of God.

As Christian we should be taking every effort to follow Christ, to become in unity with him and his teaching, doing our utmost best to obey our heavenly Father. Living according to God’s commandments we can live with the promise to be able to live in the kingdom here on earth (“inherit the earth”). Though we should be well aware that this is not promised to the pushy, proud, ambitious, and domineering and to scourge those who do not believe in God or those who prefer to live differently than us.

Those who are humble and willing to undergo all the suffering in name of Christ or those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, may look forward for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. They or we may rejoice, and be glad, for our reward in heaven shall be great, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before us. (Matthew 5:3-12)

Jesus Christ in Capernaum

Jesus Christ in Capernaum (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jesus knew or knows we are not perfect, but that does not mean we should be happy with who we are at a certain moment. Every day we should work at ourselves and strive to become better. It is quite ready to love those who love us, but what about loving those who hate us? Concerning doing good, many unbelievers are doing good, so what would be the difference between a non-believer and a Christian? How many name Christian today we do hear speaking low about other coloured people or about people of an other religion? How many so called Christians do not despise other Christians and other believers or atheists and want them away from their community or surroundings. Lots of name Christians do not welcome others.

So many people consider them higher than others or more special. Often they consider themselves perfect or faultless and are not interested in changing their own world view, their mindset, their inclination or habit, their ethos and their assumptions. Lots of them even do not want to challenge themselves in any way and do not want to see that nobody is foolproof. Today we do find lots of so called Christians who are against the refugees and who wrong or oppress strangers, though they should know that is against the Will of God (Exodus 22:20-21). They are not interested in the war victims, the orphans and widow, though a lover of God should stand up for them and defend them (Isaiah 1:16-17). Several people who call themselves Christian should better ask themselves what this really should mean and should check if they can come under that denominator.

Christianity is all a matter of “love“.

Jesus asks his followers to consider the aspects of real love and of the will to work at the inner self, the way how to react to others and daring to put your own will aside to be there for others. Looking at the habits that have entered our life, Jesus requires to examine ourself and to become aware of our attitude we should take on in life.

God requires of us to worship Him as the Only One True God of gods and to keep His commandments, doing justice and to offer loving kindness or mercy to others, walk humbly with God. Jesus requires of us also to honour his heavenly Father and to worship Him alone. He also requires us to become like him and to hunger and thirst for righteousness, work for peace, and stand in solidarity with those who are persecuted; to be merciful and comfort mourners; to be humble in spirit, meek, and pure in heart.

So let us listen very carefully to the Bible text in “Commentary Matthew 5:1-12 Nazarene Mountain teachings: Blessed and legal commentaries” and work at ourselves to become more like Christ fulfilling the Wish of God.

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Preceding article

Nazarene Commentary Matthew 4:23-25 – Kingdom Preaching and Healing Draws Crowds

There is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving

Next:

Commentary Matthew 5:1-12 Nazarene Mountain teachings: Blessed and legal commentaries

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Additional reading

  1. Being Religious and Spiritual 8 Spiritual, Mystic and not or well religious
  2. Salvation, trust and action in Jesus #2 What you must do
  3. Words to inspire and to give wisdom
  4. A season of gifts
  5. Wishing lanterns and Christmas
  6. Are you being swept along by the world
  7. Let us become nothing, and Christ everything
  8. Outflow of foundational relationship based on acceptance of Jesus
  9. the Bible – God’s guide for life #8 Looking to Jesus #1 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus
  10. The meek one riding on an ass
  11. When having found faith through the study of the Bible we do need to do works of faith

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Further reading

  1. Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount
  2. Sermon from Matthew 5
  3. What Love Says and Does
  4. Loved Are We
  5. Beatitudes
  6. Beatitudes / Blessed are: (Matthew 5:3-12)
  7. Blessed Are… – Sermon on Matthew 5:1-12
  8. What Does God Require? A Christian Manifesto (Matt 5:1-12, Micah 6:1-8)
  9. What does the Lord require…?
  10. Blessed are the merciful: 4 Epiphany A
  11. Children’s Sermon: Matthew 5:4 (Beatitudes)
  12. Sermon for January 29, 2017
  13. Sermon for 29 January 2017 on Matthew 5:1-12
  14. NBFMC Sermon Review (1/15/2017) – ‘Sermon on the Mount’ Series: “Being Salt and Light”
  15. NBFMC Sermon Review (1/22/2017) – ‘Sermon on the Mount’ Series: “Jesus and The Law”
  16. NBFMC Sermon Review (2/05/2017) – ‘Sermon on the Mount’ Series: “Lust and Relationships”
  17. 4th Sunday, Year A | Being peacemakers in a divided society
  18. Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (January 29th, 2017)
  19. 4th Sunday After Epiphany, January 29, 2017
  20. 5th Sunday Ordinary Time Year A 2017
  21. Sermon on the Mount: Part 1
  22. Sermon on the Mount Part 1: Beatitudes
  23. Sermon on the Mount: Part 2
  24. 2017.01.15 Sermon On The Mount Part 1
  25. Bible Study: Insights on the Sermon on the Mount: The Beatitudes Part 1
  26. Bible Study: Insights on the Sermon on the Mount: The Beatitudes Part 2
  27. Bible Study: Insights on the Sermon on the Mount: The Beatitudes Part 3
  28. Bible Study: Insights on the Sermon on the Mount: The Light
  29. True Worship: Justice, Kindness, Walk Humbly
  30. Sunday Devotional: Who are our ‘neighbors’ and our ‘enemies’? How are we to ‘love’ them?
  31. Blocking your own witness
  32. How to deal with others
  33. What Jesus Says When You’ve Been Burned
  34. “I’m telling you that anyone who is so much as angry with a brother or sister is guilty of murder.” ~~Jesus
  35. Reconciling Jesus
  36. Be Perfect
  37. Radical Love in the Face of Injustice
  38. “Make something happen!”: The restless spirit
  39. Giving and Getting It All
  40. Day 33 -This Little Light of Mine
  41. Be Nice to Me
  42. A Godly Response To Ungodliness
  43. Our Relationship to the World
  44. The Love Question
  45. Love?
  46. A Life Well-Lived
  47. “No & Yes”
  48. Truth, love, and justice
  49. Salt and Light: Matthew 5
  50. We’re Salt & Light: But are we?
  51. Anger and murder
  52. “An ‘Eye for eye, tooth for tooth.’ Is that going to get us anywhere?” ~~Jesus
  53. Blessed are the Refugees
  54. What Does the Lord Require? :: Prayers of the People
  55. The Joy of Mercy
  56. “You are God’s field, God’s building”
  57. Evangelize: Downtown Boise With Love
  58. …I’m gonna let it shine
  59. A toddler’s tale
  60. The Beatitudes are Like Yogurt
  61. Why does Jesus say “the poor in spirit” are blessed?
  62. An Accurate Measurement for Your Life
  63. Authentic Christianity

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With child and righteousness greater than the law

The last few weeks in many denominations they looked at a time of remembrance of the coming on earth of the Messiah. At the end of the month many Christians use the birthday of the goddess of light and creation, to celebrate the birth of Christ (who was born in 4 bCE October 17) This birth is the beginning of the New World whereof the evangelist John is talking about when he looks at that new period like at the beginning of everything new, or the Bereshith (Bereshit or Bereishit), the Genesis. In the Genesis book by Moses you may find God Speaking and by speaking or uttering His Word, everything came into being. In the same way spoke God and the child came into being.

“In [the] beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god.” (NWT) (John 1:1)

English: The story of the Eden Garden. The tem...

The story of the Eden Garden. The temptation of Adam & Eve by the devil. Pedestal of the statue of Madonna with Child, western portal (of the Virgin), of Notre-Dame de Paris, France (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Word, which was spoken before everything existed had also spoken in the Garden of Eden. That was a time long before Abraham. As such God His Word came unto the 1° Adam and promised to provide a solution for his misstep. Adam and Eve came to hear the first promise for their descendants. Later the Word of God would come to other offspring, who at their turn also told the world to look out for that Saviour or Messiah.

Not the evangelist John his work was placed first in the Books of the New Covenant. Matthew got the honour to open the New Testament. His account of the birth of Jesus in Matthew 1:18-25 has one primary concern: to establish the identity and mission of Jesus from the very beginning of his story. For the evangelist Matthew, who came to know the Nazarene Jeshua early in his public life, this special teacher no doubt is the Messiah or Christ (see Matthew 1:18), the agent of God who will establish God’s kingdom and save his people from their sins (see Matthew 1:21).

Lots of people do want to find a very special person and a very special story. Because they can not find that in the Bible they started creating several stories to make their evening of remembrance much greater.

"Annunciation", fresco (ca. 1371) by...

“Annunciation”, fresco (ca. 1371) by Jacopo di Cione (ca.1325-after 1390)(?), interior of the façade of the basilica of San Marco in Florence, Italy. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The evangelist Matthew brings a very human story involving a young couple: Joseph and Myriam or Miriam, by most English speaking people known as Mary (others know her as Maria, or Blessed Virgin Mary). Mary gets a message which may have been very strange for her and any other human being. The messenger of God, an angel pronounces that she has found great favour with God. We do find a simple village girl through whom God decides to work His plan of redemption.

“In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee,” (Luke 1:26 NIV)

“The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favoured! The Lord is with you.” Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be.” (Luke 1:28-29 NIV)

“And Mary said unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?” (Luke 1:34 ASV)

From the evangelist and apostle Matthew we come to know she got to know the workman Joseph and also in Luke is written:

“to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.” (Luke 1:27 NIV)

“The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favoured! The Lord is with you.”” (Luke 1:28 NIV)

“18 This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.” (Matthew 1:18-19 NIV)

Matthew grounds his lofty message about Jesus’ identity and mission as the Christ in the earthiness and complexities of human life. It doesn’t get much earthier than a pregnancy out of wedlock; put that together with the fact that the young couple had not yet had sex and you have the makings of a real potboiler. This young girl could be killed for what she got herself into. Regardless of the cost to her societally, she is willing to submit to God’s will for her life. For her the wrath of the Law and the weight of the village’s condemnation have no value opposite the message she got from a celestial being. Though she did not get stoned because most rabbis required a lesser penalty, including divorce and public shaming. The public shaming may have come over the fiancée of labourer Joseph who was still willing to take her as her bride.

Matthew portrays Joseph as a righteous man who confronted a significant dilemma. Him at first in love with this young Essene girl, had to face a very devote Jew who seemed to have been unfaithful to him. Most people usually understand the description of Joseph as “righteous” to mean that he was a good man, a kind man. But Joseph’s “righteousness” in this context has a specific meaning: it refers to Joseph’s thorough adherence to the law, the Torah. Joseph was also a devout, practising Jew. His decision to divorce Mary was the right one according to the law.

Matthew tells us that while Joseph had decided to sever his relationship with Mary, in accordance with the law and the custom of his time, he had decided to do this so “quietly,” evidently to reduce Mary’s public disgrace. Joseph had found a way to be faithful to the requirements of the law, but to do so in a respectful and sensitive manner. Joseph struck a remarkable balance between righteousness and compassion.

In the Torah were given many examples of how strange God’s ways might be for man. More than once appeared celestial beings to man to turn their coarse. This disappointed workman also came to hear an angel of God in a dream. Believing in the truth of his dream he abandoned adherence to the law by accepting the angel’s exhortation to take Mary as his wife. In this extraordinary situation, Joseph’s righteousness transcended the letter of the law. For Joseph, being righteous no longer meant blind, literal adherence to the Torah; the instruction from the angel trumped the law. The imminent arrival of Jesus somehow transformed the righteousness expected of Joseph. This is a theme that Jesus would articulate again and again later in this Gospel: there is a righteousness greater than the law.

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Preceding articles:

Story of Jesus’ birth begins long before the New Testament

Nazarene Commentary Luke 1:26-38 – Gabriel’s Appearance to Mary

Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:15-20 – Shepherds Find the Infant Christ

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Literature of interest:

  1. With God All Things Are Possible
  2. Message from the family tree in the Tanakh
  3. Why do we need a ransom?
  4. A promise given in the Garden of Eden
  5. The Seed Of The Woman Bruised
  6. Written to recognise the Promissed One
  7. OT prophesies and the NT fulfilment of them
  8. Prophets making excuses
  9. Belief of the things that God has promised
  10. About a man who changed history of humankind
  11. Which man is mentioned most often in the Bible? Jesus, Moses, Abraham or David?
  12. Together tasting a great promise
  13. Patriarch Abraham, Muslims, Christians and the son of God
  14. The Immeasurable Grace bestowed on humanity
  15. Virgin Mary’s girdle
  16. The Gabriel Revelation Real or forgery
  17. Who was Jesus?
  18. Jesus and his God
  19. The Christ, the anointed of God
  20. Around pre-existence of Christ
  21. A season of gifts
  22. Christmas, Saturnalia and the birth of Jesus
  23. Wishing lanterns and Christmas
  24. Jesus begotten Son of God #1 Christmas and Christians
  25. Jesus begotten Son of God #2 Christmas and pagan rites
  26. Jesus begotten Son of God #3 Messiah or Anointed one
  27. Jesus begotten Son of God #4 Promised Prophet and Saviour
  28. Jesus begotten Son of God #5 Apostle, High Priest and King
  29. Jesus begotten Son of God #6 Anointed Son of God, Adam and Abraham
  30. Jesus begotten Son of God #7 A matter of the Future
  31. Jesus begotten Son of God #8 Found Divinely Created not Incarnated
  32. Jesus begotten Son of God #9 Two millennia ago conceived or begotten
  33. Jesus begotten Son of God #13 Pre-existence excluding virginal birth of the Only One Transposed
  34. Jesus begotten Son of God #14 Beloved Preminent Son and Mediator originating in Mary
  35. Jesus begotten Son of God #15 Son of God Originating in Mary
  36. Jesus begotten Son of God #17 Adam, Eve, Mary and Christianity’s central figure
  37. Trusting, Faith, calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #3 Voice of God #6 Words to feed and communicate
  38. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #14 Prayer #12 The other name
  39. God has visited His people
  40. Jesus spitting image of his father
  41. A man with an outstanding personality
  42. Lord or Yahuwah, Yeshua or Yahushua
  43. Ember and light the ransomed of Jehovah
  44. The Beginning of the life of Jesus Christ
  45. What Jesus did: First things first
  46. Servant of his Father
  47. Anointing of Christ as Prophetic Rehearsal of the Burial rites
  48. A Messiah to die
  49. Impaled until death overtook him
  50. Cursed is the one hung on a tree
  51. Atonement and the race been bought
  52. Jesus three days in hell
  53. What Jesus Did – Misleading around the Messiah and the final assessment
  54. Christ having glory
  55. Words in the world
  56. Ignorance of Today’s Youth (and Adults)
  57. God or a god

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  • Be Thankful: 5 Things God Has Given Us We Should Thank Him For (authorbrianlknack.wordpress.com)
    Be Thankful God Gave Us Life  –  Not only did he breathe the breath of life into us that we might become a living soul but he has given us New Life in the New Covenant through the blood of His son Jesus! God put us here for a purpose and that purpose is to live for Him and experience the joy of His presence every day. For those who have accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior of our lives God has also given to us the gift of Eternal Life in Him!
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    Because God loved us so much, He didn’t want us to continue to drift away from Him in our selfish, self-centered existence. He loved us so much that He gave us the gift of His Son, Jesus, to be the way back to Him. That gift is the best, most amazing, most expensive, most valuable gift ever given, and it was given to us. He loved us enough to give us Jesus.
  • Focus On God (christianmotivations.weebly.com)
    the Bible teaches us that the flesh (since we are all born in sin through the fall of Adam and Eve) is enmity against God.
  • The Tense of Life – Future Perfect (cerkas.wordpress.com)
    In truth, time is but a fabrication and rationalization of our minds in an attempt to avoid confusion and chaos.  Simply, time helps us comprehend our existence within the limits of our knowledge.
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    The true beauty of Christianity, however, is that by being born again via Baptism, we are cleansed from sin’s blemish on our soul and are blessed to have the opportunity to live this earthly life in God’s Light, striving to become like Him, understanding that at times, we will falter and sin.  And in the wisdom of our Creator, He provided a mechanism for us to redeem ourselves of sins via repentance, along with his Grace via forgiveness.
  • Why does God make a way for us to return to paradise? (christianitymatters.com)
    Because we are mostly focused on the negative, we think a lot about why things are bad and messed up in this world but we spend little time thinking about why God makes a way for us to return to paradise.
  • Found By Grace (ponderingtheheartofjesus.com)
    When people can’t talk about difficulties together, they tend to avoid just like Adam and Eve did in the Garden of Eden when they realized they had sinned against God.
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    Have you trusted in the mediator Jesus as your Savior from the wages of sin? God is pursuing you and inviting you to be reconciled to Him right now, this Christmas.
  • Oh, Christmas Tree! (atimetoshare.wordpress.com)
    We are introduced to two trees in the Genesis account of creation – the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.  The first inhabitants were given the Tree of life for food.  The other one they ate from in hopes of becoming as wise as God.
  • History of Christmas Trees part 1 (joannerambling.wordpress.com)
    In 1584, the historian Balthasar Russow wrote about a tradition, in Riga, of a decorated fir tree in the market square where the young men “went with a flock of maidens and women, first sang and danced there and then set the tree aflame”. There’s a record of a small tree in Breman, Germany from 1570. It is described as a tree decorated with “apples, nuts, dates, pretzels and paper flowers”. It was displayed in a ‘guild-house’ (the meeting place for a society of business men in the city).
  • Come Together (dbethandrews.wordpress.com)
    There are a lot of people in recent days talking about what divides us as a nation and how to bring some sort of reconciliation between people. We have all seen the protests and the anger and hurt. We have seen grief and sadness and bitterness and distrust – and all our protesting and postulating and town-hall meetings only seem to make the chasm wider. In this season of Christmas, this time when there should be “peace on earth” (Luke 2:14) and we should “love one another” (John 13:34) we see everything but. How did we become such an angry society? What is the root of our discord? And how do we reclaim the peace we’ve lost?
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    God gave Jesus as His gift to humanity to reconcile the creation with the Creator. To bring us peace. And when we are restored to God, when we have peace with God, we can then be restored in our human relationships and have peace with one another. But not until we first receive the gift of Jesus into our lives.
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    Peace that Never Ends
    God offers peace in our “dark night of the soul,” bringing His light to the night that surrounds us.
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    One day, and I think not so very far away, Jesus Christ will return, and bring with Him the fulfillment of God’s promise of peace. He will come, not as the baby in the manger, but as the victorious King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  He will come with power and authority.  He will bring an end to evil and wickedness.  He will bring punishment to those who love evil and hatred and corruption – to all who rejected Him in this life.
  • The Bible and Mythology (ezracommentary.wordpress.com)
    Myths are stories that people make up to explain various aspects of life and to express worldview, how we see and interpret the world. There are myths about the world and the creation of the sea. There are myths to explain where man and woman came from. Some myths are about the islands and how they came to be populated. There are myths that try to explain good and evil. Other myths have to do with how man and woman are to relate to one another and to each other’s families. There are myths about children and the consequences of disobedience. There are myths about the afterlife, what happens to a person and where he goes when he dies.

    So myths are stories which attempt to explain life and its meaning. They often share wisdom as to how we should live and relate to others and to the world around us. Myths are meant for teaching so that the wisdom can be transmitted from one generation to another.

Nazarene Commentary Matthew 3:1-6 – A Wilderness Baptist Prepares the Way

Matthew 3:1-6 – A Wilderness Baptist Prepares the Way

|| Mark 1:1-6; Luke 3:1-6, 12-14

The Jordan River

The Jordan River (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

MT3:1 But in those days[1] John the Baptist[2] came from the Judean wilderness,[3] MT3:2 preaching, “Repent[4] for the Realm[5] of Heaven has drawn near.[6] MT3:3 For this is the One spoken of by Isaiah[7] the prophet, saying, ‘A voice of one crying out in the wilderness, “Make ready the Way of YHWH – make straight His roads.”’” [Isaiah 40:3] MT3:4 But this John dressed in camel’s hair with a leather belt around his waist and hips. His food was locusts[8] and wild honey. MT3:5 Then Jerusalem and all the Judeans[9] and all the country along the Jordan came to John, MT3:6 and they publicly confessed their sins[10] and John baptized[11] them in the Jordan river.[12]


[1] Those days: Luke gives the precise timing by paralleling these activities with several contemporary rulers and priests (Luke 3:1ff). It was the year 29 AD.

[2] John the Baptist: The prophet from the desert is mentioned 150 times in the Christian Bible. The name “John” means “Yah Favors.” Jesus ranks him equal to any of the greatest people in the Bible (Matthew 11:11, 12). Jesus compares him to the prophet Elijah.

[3] Wilderness: BER: the Judean desert.

[4] Repent: Repentance is a key word in the Bible. It means to “change the mind” or “feel sorry” for sins. The word group occurs 70 times in the Bible with the first at Job 42:6 and most often in Luke, with Revelation second. John’s call to repentance was regarding sins against the Mosaic Law.

[5] Realm: The Greek is BASILEIA and is often translated “kingdom.” MOF: Reign of heaven. The word occurs 366 times, first at Genesis 10:10 and most often in Daniel and then Matthew. The word may mean the seat of government, that is the king, or source of the authority. It may also mean the realm, territory or domain of the King. Here John has in mind the future manifestation or appearance of the Messiah Jesus, the “king of Israel.” “Kingdom of heaven” (Matthew) or “kingdom of God” (Luke) is used most often by the Nazarene to mean the “realm of profession” or the Church (Compare the parables in Matthew 13).

[6] Near: Usually the word “near” means within hours or days. John has in mind the coming of Messiah as the future King of Israel.

[7] Isaiah: The quote is from Isaiah 40:3 and leans toward the LXX though paraphrases a bit.

[8] Locusts: A common food of Middle Eastern nomads. GDSP: dried locusts; BECK: grasshoppers. John is very austere if not ascetic.

[9] All the Judeans: John’s preaching has a wide impact among the Jews.

[10] Their sins: That is sins against the Mosaic Law. These are all Jews.

[11] Baptized: The word (BAPTIZONTO) means “immerse” or “submerge” (RHM) and always occurs where there is “a large body of water.” The word group occurs over 100 times. There are two water baptisms in the Christian Bible: that of John the Baptist for Jews (Acts 18:25; 19:3) and Christian baptism into Nazarene discipleship. “Baptism” is connected to salvation (1 Peter 3:21). There is a baptism into God’s spirit (1 Corinthians 12:13; John 3:3-5). There is a baptism into Christ’s leadership (1 Corinthians 10:2). There is a baptism into the life course as a disciple (Mark 10:38). There is a baptism into death (Luke 12:38; Romans 6:4; Colossians 2:12). Baptism is a fundamental teaching (Hebrews 6:2). Jesus commanded his eleven apostles to go and baptize people of all nations (Matthew 28:18, 19).

  • December 8 (stmarkssa.wordpress.com)
    To the people of the Old Testament period, the word would mean to turn, to return. Their experience of being in exile in Babylon and returning to Jerusalem was a powerful cultural memory to them. When “repent” was translated from the Greek, another meaning emerged: “to go beyond the mind that we have.” So repentance is all about change, to go beyond where we are and open ourselves to transformation.
  • The Gospel of Matthew: The Messiah of Promise 3:1-12 (anchorlongbeach.wordpress.com)John the Baptist came at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, which Mark notes as the first words of his gospel. Luke, marks the time with his announcement (“15th year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar,” which puts it around 26 A.D. making both John and Jesus around 30 (See Luke 3:23), but all four gospels discuss this event in Jesus’ life, because it is an important fulfillments of prophecy about the Messiah (See Matthew 11:9-10 cf. Malachi 3:1). The fact that John the Baptist came “preaching in the desert,” is significant, because the desert was a place that God had called His people out from to worship Him, and it was usually represented renewal.
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    Although the Greek word for “Repentance” is Metanoia, which carries the idea of a changed mind, theologian D.A. Carson writes; “What is meant is not merely intellectual change of mind or more grief, still less doing penance…but a radical transformation of the entire person, a fundamental turnaround involving mind and action and including overtones of grief, which results in ‘fruit in keeping with repentance.’”Now, John’s baptism, was preparing “the way” for those to come to Jesus, but as we see elsewhere, it was only after Christ was raised from the dead that repentance led to the transformation of the Holy Spirit (See Point #5 cf. Acts13: 24ff; 19:4-6).
  • Getting ready for Advent 2 (revdavidyonker.wordpress.com)
    We know that the person John is talking about is  Jesus, but Craddock notes, “the narrative asks us to exercise restraint and let the story unfold in its own time.” We’ll get to Jesus soon enough.  John simply says in verse 11, “he who is coming after me” and “I am not worthy to carry his sandals.”  If you’ve heard the story before we know who is to come.  But when it comes to the church, how many times to we assume that everyone knows the story.  We assume people know about God’s love made known in Jesus Christ; we assume they know the story of his birth.  We assume because we know.  But that isn’t the case.  We still have to prepare the way of the Lord.
  • In those days: John’s Baptism (friarmusings.wordpress.com)
    John’s Baptism.“to lead righteous lives, to practice justice toward their fellows and piety towards God, and so doing join in baptism”  John’s baptism was a symbolic act that people who had already done these things – or were committed to living as such – were forming a “faithful remnant” of the covenant.  In the gospel accounts all of John’s words (except the word against Antipas) are spoken to persons seeking this baptism. His words show that John was unreceptive to those whom he judged to have bad faith, while he was friendly to those who were truly repentant. To the former he repeated threats and warnings and perhaps added new ones, while to the latter he gave hope for further dramatic renewal of their lives as well as ethical guidance relevant to their particular vocations. The former group seems to have been made up of people whose commonality was lording power over the common people: the religious leadership, the wealthy, the tax collectors and soldiers.
  • Lectionary blogging: Why was Jesus baptized? (johnmeunier.wordpress.com)
    It seems only right that we ask questions about the meaning of baptism since John the Baptist himself asked such questions.
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    Wesley comes down on the side of interpreting Jesus’ baptism as a model for his followers. Jesus was baptized even though he had no sin and required no repentance, which were key aspects of John’s baptismal message. Jesus did this to set a model for us. For Wesley the baptism of Jesus is an example of the obligations that rest on us as Christians for no other reason than Jesus Christ commands us to observe them. If we reject the command, Wesley argues, we should not expect the Holy Spirit.
  • The writer of The Baptism of the Lord (newevangelizers.com) asks his readers to notice that as the Spirit descends upon Jesus, “the Father announces from heaven that this is His beloved Son.”But than straight ahead continues giving the impression that this Voice from the clouds did not tell the truth and gave “a majestic revelation of the Most Holy Trinity, one God in three persons. ” and as such going against all the sayings of Jehovah God and of Jesus himself later in his life when he spoke about his relationship with his heavenly Father.
  • We wonder where Sermo Dei: Baptism of Our Lord (daringlutheran.net) gets it from that the Son of God is incarnate. He does not allow people to question his saying, so this will leave a blank.
    He writes a.o.:
    “By Jesus’ time, prophets of the Lord are seldom seen and heard from – even less so today. The sky tends not to be rent open wide when someone wades in the water. Certainly disembodied voices don’t sound forth from heaven, nor do dove-like Spirits descend in plain sight.”
    Though he seem to recognise the Voice of God or the Logos being able to create or to destroy things he suddenly seem to mix the voice of the Creator with the person of which the Logos gave existence of.
  • Baptism of Christ – unworthy sinners made worthy by Jesus (revpaulhgreenland.wordpress.com)
    judgment is there for those who oppose God’s ways, but fundamentally, God wants to bring us back from sin into His ways. We have the image of the Old Testament prophet, whose job it was to preach judgment and punishment to warn the people of the consequences of their continued sin, but God wants most of all as Ezekiel says, for people to turn and live.
  • Baptism of Our Lord (ijboudreaux.com)
    Father in heaven, at the baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan you proclaimed him your beloved Son and anointed him with the Holy Spirit.  Grant that all who are baptized into his name may keep the covenant they have made, and boldly confess him as Lord and Savior, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, One God, in glory everlasting.  Amen.
  • A Title You Can’t Wash Off (jaredhillaryruark.wordpress.com)
    We could say a lot of things about baptism because there are billions of Christians and thousands of Christian traditions, so baptism can take on any number of meanings and people think about it in a lot of different ways.
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    John the Baptist, despite his name, doesn’t feel up to the task. He’s already baptized thousands in the River Jordan but when Jesus approaches he says Whoa, whoa. Nope. I’m not baptizing you, you should be baptizing me. The problem seems to be that baptism is for the forgiveness of sins and Jesus doesn’t have sins so why would he be baptized? So John says, no-no-no. You’re the holy one and it makes more sense if you baptize me.You can tell somethings out of place just from their names and titles. John is called the Baptist and they’ll call Jesus a lot of things–Messiah, Christ, Son of God. And you can tell just from the titles that John shouldn’t be baptizing Jesus. Cause you know there are all sorts of Baptists–American baptists and Southern baptists, independent baptists. Larry and Susan the Baptists down the street. But you don’t hear about Joe and Suzy Christ so much. Only Jesus get’s to be called Christ and Christ is quite the title. So John says “I need to be baptized by you.”
  • In those days: some notes (friarmusings.wordpress.com)
    Matthew 3:1 in those days: This is an OT expression that marks the beginning of the new period, not necessarily a precise indication of time (see Mt 13:1; 24:22, 29, 36; 26:29). Here it marks the time-shift from the infancy narrative to the adult Jesus’ appearance.  the desert of Judea: wilderness would perhaps be the better word for modern English. The area is the barren region west of the Dead Sea extending up the Jordan valley.
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    Matthew 3:2 Repent: the biblical idea of repentance involves a willingness to turn one’s life around in the sense of a complete re-orientation. the kingdom of heaven is at hand: “heaven” (literally, “the heavens”) is a substitute for the name “God” that was avoided by devout Jews of the time out of reverence. The expression “the kingdom of heaven” occurs only in the gospel of Matthew. It means the effective rule of God over his people. In its fullness it includes not only human obedience to God’s word, but the triumph of God over physical evils, supremely over death. In the expectation found in Jewish apocalyptic, the kingdom was to be ushered in by a judgment in which sinners would be condemned and perish, an expectation shared by the Baptist. This was modified in Christian understanding where the kingdom was seen as being established in stages, culminating with the parousia of Jesus.
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Nazarene Commentary Luke 3:1, 2 – Factual Data

Luke 3:1, 2 – Factual Data

|| Matthew 3:1-12;[1] Mark 1:1-8[2]

LK3:1 Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar[3] – [when] Pontius Pilate[4] was governor of Judea, Herod[5] was the tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip[6] was the tetrarch of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanius[7] was tetrarch of Abilene, LK3:2 also Annas[8] and Caiaphas[9] were chief priests – God’s message[10] came to John the son of Zechariah in the desert.


[1] Matthew 3:1-12: For details see notes in Nazarene Commentary 2000 on Matthew. The symbol || indicates parallel information in another Gospel.

[2] Mark 1:1-8: For details see notes in Nazarene Commentary 2000 on Mark.

[3] The fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar: One absolute date in human history is the year Augustus died and Tiberius became Emperor of Rome – 14 AD – thus this is the year 29 AD in the fall. This is the exact year Daniel foretold when Messiah would appear. [Daniel 9:24-27]

[4] Pontius Pilate: He was appointed Roman governor of Judea in 26 AD by Tiberius. Josephus mentions him. [Jewish Antiquities, XVIII, 55-59 (iii, 1); (Jewish Antiquities, XVIII, 60-62 [iii, 2]; The Jewish War, II, 175-177 [ix, 4])] As does the Jewish theologian Philo of Judea who is not flattering. [The Embassy to Gaius, XXXVIII, 299-305] An inscription was uncovered in 1961 confirming the existence of Pilate.

[5] Herod: For details see notes in Nazarene Commentary 2000 on Matthew 14:1.

[6] Philip: Son of Herod the Great by Cleopatra of Jerusalem.

[7] Lysanius: An inscription confirms his existence. [Corpus Inscriptionum Graecarum, Vol. 3, No. 4521]

[8] Annas: For details see notes in Nazarene Commentary 2000 on Matthew 26:3, John 18:13, and Acts 4:6.

[9] Caiaphas: For details see notes in Nazarene Commentary 2000 on Matthew 26:65; John 11:49-53; 18:12-14; Acts 5:17.

[10] God’s message: Or, word, command.

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BS notes:

Philon.jpg

Philo of Alexandria (c. 20 BCE – c. 50 CE), also called Philo Judaeus, a Hellenistic Jewish philosopher who lived in Alexandria, Egypt, during the Roman Empire.

Philo of Alexandria of Philo of Judea (Greek: Φίλων, Philōn; c. 20 BCE – c. 50 CE), also called Philo Judaeus, was a Hellenistic Jewish philosopher who lived in Alexandria, Egypt, during the Roman Empire and led a delegation of Alexandrian Jews to the emperor Caligula in 40 CE to protest the recent ill treatment of Jews by Greeks in their city. His account of the proceedings survives in the treatise entitled Legatio ad Gaium.

The emperor Caligula wanted to be celebrated as a god but recognised that the Jews did not want to believe that he had been given a divine nature.

As a religious believer, Philo was convinced that the truth of things was to be found ultimately in the teachings of Moses who believed in Only One God Who had given His word to Moses and to Abraham that Word was the Logos and as Being The Word of God it was the most important element for the Judean people. As a philosopher, he felt a need to express this truth in terms that were intelligible to a world imbued with the ideas of Greek philosophy. But trying to bring philosophy in unison with the language of Scriptures made that several people started to give more attention to the philosophical thoughts instead of the Scriptural thoughts.

Philo believed God is the Most High Who has always existed and shall always exist. It is a Spirit or Being which has no beginning but also no end and as such is the only reality that is eternal. It is the Eternal Force which is totally “other” than human beings and unknowable. His providence is “individual, ” manifesting itself in direct intervention in the universe, with suspension, if need be, of laws of nature for the benefit of meritorious individuals. Of His own goodwill, He, Jehovah God, endows the human soul with immortality. These views were strongly contrasted by Philo with Greek views, such as those found in Plato’s Phaedo and Timaeus, in which both matter and the Ideas are said to be coeternal with God; Providence is said to be manifested in the basic laws of nature, and the human soul is said to be of its very nature immortal.
In his attempt to reconcile both his belief in a uniquely transcendent, eternal Creator and his general acceptance of the Platonic theory of Ideas. He rejects the Ideas as eternal, transcendent entities. Rather, they are temporal and part of God’s creation. Their exemplars, however, do exist eternally — as thoughts in the mind of God. The home of the Ideas he called the Logos, or Reason, and this Logos, like the Ideas, was said to exist both transcendentally, as an eternal exemplar in the mind of God, and temporally, as part of God’s creation. With this doctrine Philo attempted to bridge the gap between a God who is totally “other” and the material universe; the Logos, being (unlike God) both transcendental and temporal, was the all-important intermediary linking man and the universe to their creator. But the linking to man made many scholars link Logos also to the human person and as such made Jesus into the Logos and considering because Logos is masculine that it could only be a man. But when they think that way Wisdom being feminine would make it to be a woman and when God is Wisdom would make God to be a woman.

According to Philo Logos is the intermediary through which God’s will acts and is thus the creative power that orders the world. Along with the Logos, Philo posited a whole realm of beings or potencies that bridge the gap between the Creator and his creation. Only fragments of Philo’s works remain, but numerous quotations from his writings are found in early Christian literature.

In a way he understood where the apostle John was pointing at, namely looking at the New Creation the disciple of Christ saw in his master the one who only wanted to do the Will of his Father, whom he wanted all the world letting Him be known. The apostles came to understand that their rabbi was the first-born of the New Creation and as such understood that The Word of God had brought into existence that New Creation. The Speaking of God had made everything possible. God His words brought by His messenger to the mother of John the baptist and to the mother of Jesus had brought insight into those women of the tribe of Juda. Having had the Word (the Logos) brought to king David, the Logos given to the young woman from the tribe of kind David came into fulfilment.

The messengers where the intermediaries through which God’s will acted and by which the two men came into existence by which salvation would become pronounced and by which the intermediary through which God’s will could act for those who were sinners but could find whitewashing in the one provided by the Most High, having become a reality by the Logos (the Speaking of God). The Voice of God or the Word of God coming to the world by the Speaking of God by the birth of Christ had now become flesh. It was not God Himself who had become flesh or a human being but the Words of God having become a reality, being his promise made at the Garden of Eden becoming into being or becoming true.

In the Holy Scriptures God has given His Words. They are the “Logos” which we can carry in our hearts and as such take God in our hearts. by taking the words of the Bible at heart it will not make us into gods or becoming god the Creator, like it did not with Christ Jesus who only did the wish of his Father and always declared he could not do anything without his Father.

“Jesus gave them this answer: “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.” (John 5:19 NIV)

“Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”” (John 20:17 NIV)

“For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,” (1 Timothy 2:5 NIV)

“to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.” (Hebrews 12:24 NIV)

“5 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:5-8 NIV)

“Now I want you to realise that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.” (1 Corinthians 11:3 NIV)

“When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all.” (1 Corinthians 15:28 NIV)

The Logos shall return to God, and the full circle shall be able to be closed when Jesus shall hand over the Kingdom of God again to his Father, Jesus and all his followers in subjection to the Most High Word of the world and the whole universe, the Only One God Who is One, Adonai Elohim Hashem Jehovah.

Philo – Woodcut from Die Schedelsche Weltchronik

Philo wrote mainly dealing with the Pentateuch. “De Opificio Mundi” brings his thought on the Creation, “De Vita Mosis” (On the Life of Moses), “Legum Allegoriae” (Allegorical Interpretation), “De Somniis” (On Dreams), “Quaestiones et Solutiones in Genesin” (Questions and Answers on Genesis).
In addition, he produced various philosophical treatises on such subjects as providence and the eternity of the world. He also wrote works (of great historical importance for understanding the situation of the Jews in Alexandria) against the oppression of Jews by Flaccus, and concerning the cruelty of the Roman emperor Gaius.

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Preceding article: Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:41-50 – Twelve Year Old Jesus in the Temple + Luke 2:51-52 – Jesus continued to be in subjection to his parents

Connecting articles:

Nazarene Commentary Matthew 3:1-6 – A Wilderness Baptist Prepares the Way

Nazarene Commentary Matthew 3:7-12 – Opposition and Two Baptisms

Nazarene Commentary Mark 1:1-8 – The Beginning of the Good News

Next: Nazarene Commentary Luke 3:3-6 – John Preaches Baptism of Repentance

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  1. The Word being a quality or aspect of God Himself
  2. Incomplete without the mind of God
  3. Immortality, eternality – onsterfelijkheid, eeuwigheid
  4. Is there an Immortal soul
  5. Dying or not
  6. 1 Corinthians 15 Hope in action
  7. We will all be changed
  8. Jesus begotten Son of God #11 Existence and Genesis Raising up
  9. Secret or public return of Jesus

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  • Saturday – Third Week of Advent (johnsramblings.com)
    In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the wilderness.
  • Herod and Pontius Pilate . . . Gentiles . . . peoples of Israel (proclaimingthegospelofchrist.wordpress.com)
    Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. (Acts 4:27)
  • Jesus in Extra-Biblical Sources – Apologetics Canada (christianreasons.com)
    Like Suetonius, Tacitus was also a Roman historian. He is best known for his Annals which records events from the death of Roman emperors Augustus to Nero in 14-68 AD.6 In Annals 15.44, Tacitus makes a reference to Jesus:
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    Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular.
  • Commentary On The Gospel Of Mark Chapter 15:1-3 (studyoftheword.com)
    Pilate was the Roman governor of Judea and was appointed by Tiberius in A.D. 26. He was in charge of the Roman army of occupation, in charge of the taxes going to Rome, had life and death power over his subjects, appointed high priests and decided cases involving capital punishment. He was a weak governor who let his personal and political agenda interfere with his duties. He knew that in Jesus’ case that justice was not being done and he did not want the Roman officials to know that he could not control the situation because this had already been brought to Tiberius’s attention.
  • Something about St. John the Baptist (englishminor1215.wordpress.com)
    St. John the Baptist was born in the city Orini , family priest Zechariah. Elizabeth , his mother, was a descendant of the tribe of Aaron . The birth of the prophet John spent six months before the birth of Jesus . Birth was given by the angel Gabriel to Zacharias while he was serving in the temple. To not give credence to those proclaimed by the angel Gabriel, Zechariah will remain silent until the release of his son ‘s name .
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    The fame of John the Baptist was so great , according to the evangelists Matthew and Mark that Herod come to believe that Jesus is actually John the Baptist risen from the dead to do wonders . The belief was widespread among Hebrew , as seen when Jesus asks his disciples who the crowds say that he is.
  • The Existence of Jesus Christ (gratiaetnatura.wordpress.com)
    There is one thing I have discovered–that those who do not wish to accept Jesus as the Christ will go as far as to deny even atheist scholars’ claims that He lived from around 4 B.C.E.-29 C.E. in ancient Palestine. One recently claimed that only a branch of scholars influenced by Christian apologetics accept the existence of Jesus. My sense is that someone who is ready to deny the vast majority of scholarship, not only Christian, but also atheist, agnostic, and Jewish scholarship, is unlikely to be persuaded by a blog post.
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    Both Tacitus, Suetonius, and Pliny the Younger (in his letter to the Roman emperor Trajan, 112 C.E.) mention Jesus as the founder of Christianity and that he was crucified under Pontius Pilate. These are the sure references to Jesus in extrabiblical literature of the second century. There is a reference, though later edited by Christians, to Jesus in Josephus, a first century Jewish historian.
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    Mainstream scholarship of all creeds or lack thereof accepts Jesus existence–if we denied it on the critics’ grounds, we would have to deny the existence of Plato, Julius Caesar, Herod the Great, and other ancient historical people. The similarity of the Jesus story to dying and rising god stories proves nothing about Jesus existence. The critics are inconsistent–they demand absolute, quasi-mathematical proof for Jesus’ existence, but not for other historical figures they accept as having existing.
  • A Brief Sample of Archaeology Corroborating the Claims of the New Testament (str.typepad.com)
    Sir William Mitchell Ramsay, a 19th century English historian and prolific writer, held a pervasive anti-Biblical bias. He believed the historical accounts in the Book of Acts were written in the mid-2nd century. Ramsay was skeptical of Luke’s authorship and the historicity of the Book of Acts, and he set out to prove his suspicions. He began a detailed study of the archaeological evidence, and eventually came to an illuminating conclusion: the historical and archaeological evidence supported Luke’s 1st century authorship and historical reliability:“(There are) reasons for placing the author of Acts among the historians of the first rank” (Sir William Ramsay, St. Paul the Traveler and the Roman Citizen, p. 4).

    Ramsay became convinced of Luke’s reliability based on the accurate description of historical events and settings. Ramsay wasn’t the only scholar to be impressed by Luke’s accuracy:

    “One of the most remarkable tokens of (Luke’s) accuracy is his sure familiarity with the proper titles of all the notable persons who are mentioned . . . Cyprus, for example, which was an imperial province until 22 BC, became a senatorial province in that year, and was therefore governed no longer by an imperial legate but by a proconsul. And so, when Paul and Barnabas arrived in Cyprus about AD 47, it was the proconsul Sergius Paullus whom they met . . .’ (F.F. Bruce, The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable?, p. 82).

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    For many centuries, Luke was the only ancient writer to use the word Politarch to describe “rulers of the city.” Skeptics doubted that it was a legitimate Greek term until nineteen inscriptions were discovered. Five of these were in reference to Thessalonica (the very city in which Luke was claiming to have heard the term).

  • A Kenyan Lawyer Sues King Herod, Israel, And Italy over the Trial and Crucifixion of Jesus Christ. (mojiakubudel.com)
    Mr Indidis, a Roman Catholic, and former spokesperson for the Kenyan Judiciary, filed the lawsuit regarding Jesus’ death with the International Court of Justice, the primary judicial branch of the United Nations based at The Hague in the Netherlands.He filed the lawsuit against Pontius Pilate, several Jewish elders, King Herod, Tiberius (Emperor of Rome 42 BC-37AD), the Republic of Italy and the State of Israel.

     “I filed the case because it’s my duty to uphold the dignity of Jesus and I have gone to the ICJ to seek justice for the man from Nazareth,” Indidis told the Nairobian in a recent interview.
  • New Ebook Released, just in time for Christmas!!! (sheiladeeth.wordpress.com)
    hat happened in those hidden years, those intervening decades between the return to Nazareth and the time when Jesus began his public ministry? Ms. Deeth fills this gap using logic, imagination and a subtle sense of humor. In so doing, she presents everyday life in Nazareth for the boy Jesus. Throughout the book’s fifty-plus chapters he assists Joseph in his carpentry work, interacts with friends and neighbors, and experiences the wider world beyond his hometown. The reader meets a young, but self-aware Jesus filled with boyish curiosity yet often wise beyond his years. Ever alert to the world around him, he catalogs the ups and downs of First Century life compiling a treasure trove of memories. And it’s from those memories and experiences that Jesus extracts the nuggets of wisdom for his parables.
  • Josefo, sobre Fílon de Alexandria (filal.wordpress.com)
    We find a brief reference to Philo by the 1st-century Jewish historian Josephus. In Antiquities of the Jews, Josephus tells of Philo’s selection by the Alexandrian Jewish community as their principal representative before the Roman emperor Gaius Caligula. He says that Philo agreed to represent the Alexandrian Jews in regard to civil disorder that had developed between the Jews and the Greeks in Alexandria, Egypt. Josephus also tells us that Philo was skilled in philosophy, and that he was brother to an official called Alexander the alabarch (Josephus, Antiquities viii. 8. 19). According Josephus, Philo and the larger Jewish community refused to treat the emperor as a god, to erect statues in honor of the emperor, and to build altars and temples to the emperor. Josephus says Philo believed that God actively supported this refusal.
  • In those days: some notes (friarmusings.wordpress.com)
    Matthew 3:1 in those days: This is an OT expression that marks the beginning of the new period, not necessarily a precise indication of time (see Mt 13:1; 24:22, 29, 36; 26:29). Here it marks the time-shift from the infancy narrative to the adult Jesus’ appearance.  the desert of Judea: wilderness would perhaps be the better word for modern English. The area is the barren region west of the Dead Sea extending up the Jordan valley.
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Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:39-40 – The Young Child Grows

Luke 2:39-40 – The Young Child Grows

 

LK2:39 Now when everything had been fulfilled according to YHWH’s law they returned to the village of Nazareth in Galilee. LK2:40 And so the child continued to grow stronger and stronger being filled with wisdom, and God’s unmerited favor was upon him.[1]

 


[1] God’s unmerited favor was upon him: It is clear the young boy Jesus was not God. Luke does not deal with the flight to Egypt as other Gospels cover this history.

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Preceding:

Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:1-7 – A Firstborn’s Birth In Bethlehem

Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:8-14 – Angels and Shepherds in the Night

Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:15-20 – Shepherds Find the Infant Christ

Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:21-24 – Presenting the Baby to God

Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:25-35 – Simeon’s Blessing and Warning

Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:36-38 – Anna’s Thanks before Those Waiting

Next: Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:41-50 – Twelve Year Old Jesus in the Temple

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St Luke's Infancy Narratives

St Luke’s Infancy Narratives (Photo credit: Lawrence OP)

 

 

  • Cheap grace…what??? (melwild.wordpress.com)
    What muddies the proverbial waters is that when we define grace as “unmerited favor,”  it can be construed by the less faithful as God excusing our behavior.
    +
    Jesus came in the power of God and truth. Peter tells us to grow in the power of God to live in the divine life (2 Pet.1:2-3; 3:18).
    +
    In fact, grace is not about our behavior–about sinning or not sinning–it’s about the power of a New Creation (2 Cor.5:17-21; Gal.6:15).
  • Incredible – God introduced the Law (commandments) that sin might increase (chixyfied.wordpress.com)
    God fore knew that man could never keep the law based on man’s own efforts, so at the fullness of the law era, he brought in Grace where righteousness shall not be placed on man but on God himself
  • Nativity fiction (chechar.wordpress.com)
    we have a fascinating picture of four separate Christian communities in the first century. Two of them, Jewish-Christian, were determined to have a messiah with Davidic ancestry and constructed genealogies to prove it, never dreaming that Jesus could be thought of as having no human father.But gentile Christians in the first century, who came into the new religion directly from paganism and were already infected with myths about licentious deities, had a much different understanding of what divine paternity meant. Plutarch speaks for the entire pagan world when he writes, in Convivial Disputations, “The fact of the intercourse of a male with mortal women is conceded by all,” though he admits that such relations might be spiritual, not carnal. Such mythology came with pagans converted to Christianity, and by the middle of the first century, Joseph’s paternity of Jesus was being replaced by God’s all over the gentile world.
    +
    Whereas Matthew has the Holy Family living in Bethlehem at the time of the birth and traveling to Nazareth, Luke has them living in Nazareth and traveling to Bethlehem in the very last stages of Mary’s pregnancy. Though Luke 1:5 dates the birth of Jesus in the “days of Herod, king of Judaea,” who died in 4 B.C., he wants the journey from Galilee to Bethlehem to have occurred in response to a census called when “Quirinius was governor of Syria.”

 

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Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:15-20 – Shepherds Find the Infant Christ

Luke 2:15-20 – Shepherds Find the Infant Christ

LK2:15 Now when the angels departed from them to heaven the shepherds talked to one another: “Let us go up to Bethlehem now and see if this has really happened just as the LORD[1] has made known to us.” LK2:16 Quickly they arrived [in Bethlehem] and found both Mary and Joseph and the infant lying in the manger. LK2:17 Now as soon as they saw them they realized the [truth of the] message that had been made known to them regarding this child. LK2:18 So everyone that heard this was amazed regarding everything that had been reported by the shepherds. LK2:19 But Mary kept all these things in her memory[2] and pondered over them in her heart. LK2:20 Then the shepherds returned [to their flocks], glorifying and praising The God for everything they had heard and seen, just as it was


[1] The Lord: The Greek is HO KYRIOS.

[2] Mary kept all these things in her memory: It is possible Luke interviewed Mary in her old age. If she had been a young girl of 14 when she gave birth to Jesus, Mary would have been about 45 when Luke was doing his research.

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Preceding: Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:1-7 – A Firstborn’s Birth In Bethlehem

Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:8-14 – Angels and Shepherds in the Night

Next: Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:21-24 – Presenting the Baby to God

File:Illustrations from Alden's Prince of Peace c. 1890 0004.jpg

Church built where angels appeared to shepherds – The Prince of peace by Isabella Macdonald Alden c. 1890

  • Merry Christmas and the Shepherds (samcdonaldblog.com)
    It has always interested me that the revelation of Jesus Christ to those outside the circle of Mary, Joseph, and Elizabeth started with shepherds.  From most accounts shepherds, during the time of Christ, lived outside established religion and were generally mistrusted by society.  Yet the greatest revelation of history, “God in flesh”, was first announced to a group of shepherds outside of Bethlehem by angels.
  • Merry Christmas! Peace on Eath, Good Will Toward Men (closetprofessor.wordpress.com)
    The gospels of Luke and Matthew both describe Jesus as born in Bethlehem in Judea, to a virgin mother. In the Gospel of Luke account, Joseph and Mary travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem for the census, and Jesus is born there and laid in a manger. Angels proclaim him a savior for all people, and shepherds come to adore him. In the Matthew account, astronomers follow a star to Bethlehem to bring gifts to Jesus, born the King of the Jews. King Herod orders the massacre of all the boys less than two years old in Bethlehem, but the family flees to Egypt and later settles in Nazareth.

    Luke’s story takes place mostly before the birth of Jesus and centers on Mary, while Matthew’s story takes place mostly after the birth of Jesus and centers on Joseph. The two other gospels, the Gospel of Mark and the Gospel of John, begin their narratives of Jesus’s life in his adulthood; both mention him coming out of Galilee and John mentions the name of Jesus’ father, but neither John nor Mark gives any other details of his life prior to adulthood.

  • Shepherds Hear that the Great Shepherd Brings Peace (Day 12 of the 12 Days of Christmas devotionals) (gloriousfilms.com)
    What does it say about Jesus that shepherds were the first to receive – and tell – the good news of His birth?
    +
    By Christ’s day, shepherds had lost much of their ancient esteem from the days when Abel, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses and David plied the trade.  They were no longer among the mighty, the rich, the great, or the respected among the population, but were on the margins of society, working a difficult, dangerous and undesirable job of watching over some of the smelliest, stupidest animals on earth, living outside in the cold and weather, and not being highly paid for doing so.  Thus, choosing to give such a great honor to the shepherds, and therefore, snubbing the high priests, the rich, and the kings of the earth like Herod, sends a message from on High.  As we have touched on before, it must represent the “great reversal” that Christ’s Kingdom brings, where the humble are the exalted, and the exalted are brought low.
  • The True Meaning of Christmas (tillynailart.com)
    And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.
    +
    the glory of the Lord shone around them
  • Saints and Feasts: The Nativity of our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ (orthodoxlogos5.wordpress.com)
    Concurring with the witness of the Gospel, the Fathers of the Church, in their God-inspired writings, describe the Feast of the Nativity of Christ as most profound, and joyous, serving as the basis and foundation for all the other Feasts.
  • Merry Christmas to All of You!! (menofredemption.wordpress.com)
    And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.
  • Mary pondered these things in her heart: the art of pondering (johndgrigsby.com)

    One of my favorite verses in the Bible is that part in verse 19 where it said that Mary treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart.

    What did it mean for her to ponder in her heart?

    Ponder means to consider.  It means to take what you know, and consider what might be.

  • Joy. (wccollegedotorg.wordpress.com)
    17 When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
  • Merry Christmas from Our Family to Yours! (freehealthandwellness.com)
    We know that Christ was born and we should be very, very thankful!
    +
    The birth of the baby Jesus stands as the most significant event in all history, because it has meant the pouring into a sick world the healing medicine of love which has transformed all manner of hearts for almost two thousand years… Underneath all the bulging bundles is this beating Christmas heart.

Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:8-14 – Angels and Shepherds in the Night

Luke 2:8-14 – Angels and Shepherds in the Night

LK2:8 Now there were shepherds[1] in the same area who were living outside keeping watch at night[2] over their flock. LK2:9 Then YHWH’s angel[3] appeared to them and YHWH’s glory[4] shone all around them and so they became frightened with a great fear. LK2:10 And the angel said to them: “Do not be frightened. For, behold, I declare to all of you a great joy for all the people. LK2:11 Because today there was born to you in David’s city a savior[5] who is Lord Messiah.[6] LK2:12 And this will be your sign – you will find an infant wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” LK2:13 Then suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of celestial armies[7] praising The God and saying: LK2:14 “Glory to God in the heights, and on earth peace among men of goodwill!”[8]


[1] Shepherds: Though Luke compiled his Gospel thirty years later it is still possible he was able to interview one or more of these shepherds. Certainly he could get facts from their children who would have been told the story.

[2] Living outside keeping watch at night: Suggesting it was not yet winter and was mild enough in the fall to sleep outdoors.

[3] YHWH’s angel: A Hebraism that occurs often in the Old Testament. [Genesis 16:7; Exodus 3:2; Numbers 22:22]

[4] YHWH’s glory: A Hebraism. [Exodus 16:7, 10; 24:16, 17; 40:34, 35]

[5] A savior: Or, deliverer. The Greek SOTER is without the article. The designation is used of God and judges of Israel. [Isaiah 19:20]

[6] Lord Messiah: Or, Christ, Anointed Lord, Messiah and Lord, Christ the Lord. [Daniel 9:24, 25]

[7] A multitude of celestial armies: Or, KJV: a multitude of the heavenly host; GDS: a throng of the heavenly army; AMP: an army of the troops of heaven.

[8] Peace among men of goodwill: Or, on earth peace, good will toward men; RSV: among men with whom he is pleased; ABU: peace toward men of his good pleasure; MON: among men who please him. [Isaiah 9:6] Compare Jesus’ use of Isaiah 61:2 at Luke 4:19.

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Preceding: Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:1-7 – A Firstborn’s Birth In Bethlehem

Next: Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:15-20 – Shepherds Find the Infant Christ

File:Rembrandt van Rijn - The Angel Appearing to the Shepherds.jpg

The Angel Appearing to the Shepherds – 1634, Rembrandt (1606–1669)

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  • The Peace of the Lord – Sermon for December 29, 2013 (pastorrichert.wordpress.com)
    It seems appropriate to consider why the angels were bringing tidings of peace when this child whose birth they were announcing would lead to so much bloodshed, when he himself would grow up to say, “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword” [Matthew 10:34]?
  • The First Christmas (1singlefocus.wordpress.com)
    And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men!”

    And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the
    shepherds said one to another, “Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.”
    +
    Celebrate His birth like the Shepherds did: spread the Good News, glorifying and praising God, for Christ the Savior is born!

  • Joy. (wccollegedotorg.wordpress.com)
    God chose the shepherds to tell Mary about the baby. What does this say about God? What does this say about the shepherds?  Can God use you to tell some good news?
  • Merry Christmas from Our Family to Yours! (freehealthandwellness.com)
    some of the words to the songs sung at this time of year are beautiful and very meaningful, but why do people wait to sing them now? Why not during the year? Some say that the Christmas story was told in the scriptures of the Gospels.
  • Merry Christmas to All of You!! (menofredemption.wordpress.com)
    behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid.
  • The Lord Sits #ThroneOfGod #YHWH #Jesus #TheLordsits (mrpatvincent.com)
    The Throne of God is mentioned several times throughout scripture. I won’t bombard you with all of them. Most famously it is described by Ezekiel (chapter 1). I’d like to mention also that the angel Gabriel refers to the Throne of God in Luke 1:32-33 because… he should know, he’s been there. He’s actually seen it!
  • God Love’s You! (thelbdessentialsforlife.wordpress.com)
    John 3:16 (NKJV) For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
  • Let Go and Let God #LetGodAndLetGod #YHWH #Jesus (mrpatvincent.com)
    Give God the reigns of your life. He is a much better driver anyways. Letting go is hard for us humans, isn’t it? We have to be in control of everything. It’s almost as if we’re admitting defeat if we let someone else take over. If someone is more qualified, then why not? And if anyone is more qualified, it’s the LORD. Why is this such a struggle?! It’s OK to let God in. It’s OK to let Him be the deciding factor.
  • Mary pondered these things in her heart: the art of pondering (johndgrigsby.com)
    God had been silent in the Bible for 400 years until the arrival of Jesus.  So the God of the universe had spoke to Mary, gave her a baby, and now these shepherds were witnesses to the authenticity.  I think she just pondered what would be next.  Where would these events take her life next?  Who else would come to visit the baby and how did they know of Him?  Would there be a different way of raising this God child?  She had no idea what would be next, but I think her mind would race with expectations.
  • The Norm Nativity | Angels visit the Shepherds (daily-norm.com)
    Above the stable, a particularly bright star grew even brighter, and in the stars around it, angel Norms started gathering to celebrate the birth, flying then from place to place to spread the great news. One of the first places they visited was a nearby field, where a group of shepherds sat about having a little evening supper after a hard day looking after their not insubstantial flock. When the shepherds caught sight of a group of angels coming towards them, they almost collapsed in shock – their poor little sheep didn’t know what to do with themselves and promptly hid behind their shepherd masters. Only when the excitement of the news relayed by the angels sunk in did the shepherds (and the sheep) begin to settle, jumping up with some excitement and declaring that they must visit the baby forthwith!

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